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Cynthia E. Griffin

Stories by Cynthia E.

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L.A. Uprising: A look at the city 25 years later

Twenty-five years ago on April 29, the world got a first-hand demonstration of how dangerous unchecked racism and prejudice can be. It began with an attempted police stop of a motorist that spiraled out of control and ended with four members of the Los Angeles Police Department charged with assault and excessive use of force. A video of the incident in Lake View Terrace, taken by amateur videographer George Holliday, was widely screened.

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Facebook Killer’s actions could have lasting ramifications

Pennsylvania police confirmed Monday that the killer of a 74-year-old Cincinnati grandfather, Robert Godwin Sr.—a retired foundry worker with nine children and 14 grandkids—was shot by a children’s behavioral center worker. Godwin was walking home from Easter dinner with his family, when he randomly encountered and was shot by 37-year-old Steven Stephens, who then fatally turned the gun on himself the following day after leading police on what turned into a two-day chase. At one point, police said the search covered at least five states.

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Civil rights veteran succumbs

Roger Wilkins, famed civil rights worker, journalist, author, and history and American culture professor at George Mason University, died on March 26 in Kensington, Md., at age 85 in a care facility from complications of dementia. Wilkins, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was an assistant United States attorney general, ran domestic programs for the Ford Foundation, and wrote editorials for The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Local teams hold their own in state Academic Decathlon

The academic decathlon is done for the 2016-17 school year, and a number of the perrennially successful teams from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) are headed to Madison, Wis., to compete for the national championship, April 17-23. Granada Hills Charter High Shool finished at the top of the leader board in the regional finals held in Sacramento last weekend. It is one of three LAUSD schools that will compete for a chance to win the national championship.

Toyota celebrates Black history with inner-city tour

As the celebration of Black History Month winds down, and recognition of Women’s history month starts, scholar Alison Rose Jefferson, Ph.D., joined forces with Toyota Motors to introduce a group of young journalists to a little-known part of Black Los Angeles history via a driving tour that began at El Pueblo de Los Angeles. One of the first items visitors there were introduced to was a plaque commemorating the 44 African-descended founders including Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, through its #SteepedInHistory hashtag campaign Jefferson also introduced noted African descendants.

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Conference helps men of color develop strategies

Los Angeles Southwest College hosts the 17th Manchild Conference Saturday, Feb. 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the college, 1600 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles. Tyrone C. Howard, founder and executive director of the Black Male Institute at UCLA, is the keynote speaker.

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Applications open for organizations interested in presenting free concerts

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission is accepting applications from organizations seeking support for presenting music programming at their facility or designated location. Applications for the Free Concerts in Public Sites program are due March 1. Eligibility information and program requirements are available at lacountyarts.org/funding/free-concerts.

Applications open for organizations interested in presenting free concerts

The Los Angeles County Arts Commission is accepting applications from organizations seeking support for presenting music programming at their facility or designated location.

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Small business funding offered

Money provided to former felons, creative artists, women, and girls in tech

The Small Business Administration and a number of organizations feature competitions that give prospective entrepreneurs an opportunity to win funds to launch a small business. *The Aspire Challenge for Entrepreneurship Training and Microloan targets previously incarcerated individuals and the SBA has received $1.2 million to fund up to 16 nonprofit/not for profit or city entities. The selected organizations must have an account with the System for Award Management (SAM) and will receive up to $75,000 to create a training program. Then the individual programs will make microloans of up to $50,000 to the formerly incarcerated owners.

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Comedian Steve Harvey heeds president’s call

Black America is in the midst of a political brewhaha that has found popular nationally syndicated morning radio and television talk show host Steve Harvey being asked to explain

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Black business advocate Pat Means, has died

Pat Means, a long time member of the Black Los Angeles business community and former publisher and co-founder of Turning Point magazine, has died after an extended illness. Just prior to her death, Means served as Director of Communications and Community at AltaSea located at the Port of Los Angeles. AltaSea is a nonprofit organization focusing on developing innovative partnerships between public entities, private companies and the public to explore, incubate and sustain ocean-related business; and pioneer new ocean-related education programs.

Carson eyeing post as head of HUD

As he continues his efforts to present a full slate of potential appointments President-elect Trump taps rival Dr. Ben Carsonfor cabinet post that has drawn the criticism of some in government.

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Jeff Sessions receives positive support

Despite allegations of racism dogging the heels of the man President-elect Donald Trump has nominated for attorney general, there are some saying that these characterizations of the Alabama senator are not true including William Smith, the first Black Republican chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Smith said he was hired by Sessions, and worked with him for nearly a decade.

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Looking at more Trump cabinet nominees

As he continues to propose nominees to fill his cabinet, President-Elect Donald Trump has reportedly selected a number people that may be of particular interest to African Americans. These include Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate who has been identified as a possible candidate for the Housing and Urban Development post. However, he has not formally accepted or turned down the job.

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Trump sorting through resumes

As president-elect Donald Trump has continued shuffling through prospective candidates for his administration and even announced a plan to address the challenges to contemporary Black America, there is a seemingly odd but typical occurrence happening.

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Thanksgiving meals offered locally

Jackson turkey giveaway on Nov. 22

This year’s 34th Annual Jackson Turkey & Grocery Giveaway will go on as planned on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 8 a.m. at 3669 Slauson Ave. There is still a great need for donations and volunteers. For details, visit www.theejjacksonfoundation.com. A number of organizations are planning events as well.

School concerned about armed guards at weed dispensary

A private religious school located in the 2900 block of West Slauson is working with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office to stop the operation of a marijuana dispensary which employees fully armed security dressed in bullet-proof vests.

Voter education enables Communty Coalition to provide jobs and help the community

After growing up in Los Angeles and spending much of his life under the control of various elements of the public social services system including foster care,

Third-party candidates try again to attract more voters

Jill Stein, Gary Johnson make pitch

With less than a week to go before the 2016 presidential election takes its swan song, the electoral fireworks continue to ignite. From accusations of racism lodged against both major party candidates, to the leaking of private e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) that support claims of shady dealings in favor of Hillary Clinton, to a decades-old audio tape that apparently demonstrates Republican nominee Donald Trump’s not-so-warm feelings toward women; and in the last few days, the downfall of a revered African American Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, who allegedly was illegally sharing debate questions with Democratic nominee Clinton prior to a primary face-off.

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Fostering more love

New foster care legislation may mean positive changes for affected youth

California is less than three months away from one of the most sweeping changes to hit the child welfare system in the state’s history. An estimated 18,000 children in Los Angeles County are part of the region’s foster care system, with about half of these youngsters been placed with a relative, according to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

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Fostering more love

New foster care legislation may mean positive changes for affected youth

California is less than three months away from one of the most sweeping changes to hit the child welfare system in the state’s history. An estimated 18,000 children in Los Angeles County are part of the region’s foster care system, with about half of these youngsters been placed with a relative, according to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

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Subway group urges “no” vote Measure M

Claiming that a measure proposed by the Metropolitan Transit Authority is racist and regressive, two transit advocacy organizations last week launched a campaign urging voters to reject Measure M. The legislation called the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, would modernize the region’s aging transportation infrastructure and build a 21st century transportation network that adds and accelerates transit lines and finally ties them together into a comprehensive system.

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Presidential politics dominate weekend

The race for president heated up last weekend with two well-known surrogates standing in for the two leading candidates before a vocal and highly-engaged crowd during a debate held in at Inglewood’s Faithful Central Tabernacle.

Committee OKs prison audit

Will look at high suicide rate among inmates

Sen. Connie Leyva, (D-Chino) has championed the fight to have the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approve an independent audit of the suicides at the California Institution for Women (CIW).

Vice presidential candidates solidify positions in debate

The first and only debate between vice presidential candidates of the 2016 campaign—Virginia Sen. Timothy Michael Kaine and former Indiana Gov. Michael Richard Pence— held Tuesday at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., was characterized according to analysts as fraught with bickering that really did not offer viewers anything new about their respective running mates nor did it seem to sway undecided voters.

Motherland connection

Doing business in Africa requires knowledge and more

For nearly 41 years, Katula by Africana (formerly Africana Imports) has served as a retail cultural touchstone in the city of Los Angeles drawing a clientele that is multiple generations deep.

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Win cash to build your mobile app

The US Black Chamber of Commerce invites entrepreneurs with an idea for a mobile app, service or product that will make the world a better place, to submit an application for the 2016 Mobileys competition.

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Colin Powell clarifies his role in Clinton e-mail server

The furor over the use of a personal e-mail server by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continues to spin uncontrollably thanks to a revelation by the former secretary of state that after she took over as the nation’s top diplomat,

Owners of Baldwin Hills mall seek retailers to fill up Wal-Mart space

Since it was first built in 1947, the former Broadway Department store in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza has been occupied by one tenant.

Federal government to reduce reliance on private prisons

Citing an audit report that demonstrated a decline in the number of federal inmates and that prisons run by private companies are substantially less safe and secure than ones run by the Bureau of Prisons, and feature higher rates of violence and contraband, the Bureau of Prisons will stop using some of these lockups.

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Banking on support

From the time African Americans were granted freedom from slavery, there were concerted and continuous efforts to change the economic fortunes and destinies of the race. In fact, shortly after slavery ended in 1865, Congress created one of the earliest financial institutions—the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (also known The Freedman’s Bank)—designed to aid the freed slaves in their transition from slavery to freedom.

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Science is hip

Fair encourages experiments

Kindergartners through adults in South Los Angeles can participate in the Helping Individuals Through Science (H.I.P.) science fair Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Bradley Milken Center, 1773. E. Century Blvd. in Watts.

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Teens create app to help answer questions about sex

Team wins $4,000 in seed funding; talks with rapper Lupe Fiasco

His appearance at the seventh Teens Exploring Technology (TXT) Demo Day held Saturday morning at the USC Salvatori Computer Science Center was not unexpected—but he was only supposed to encourage the participants.

Do business in Belize and Central America

Expo and trade mission planned

The 2016 Expo Belize Marketplace, organized by the Belize Chamber of Commerce—that nation’s largest private sector association—gives American businesses an opportunity to advertise their products and services to Belizeans during the largest trade show in this Caribbean nation.

County helps small businesses meet wage increase requirements

The city and county of Los Angeles are set to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour, and the county held a workshop to let business owners in the unincorporated areas, who have 26 or more employees, know how the new wage increase will work

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Clinton stumps at Southwest College

Pushes comprehensive immigration reform, affordable college

As the presidential campaign makes a shift westward in preparation for the upcoming California June 7 primary, Southern California and in particular South Los Angeles got a taste of the excitement surrounding Hillary Clinton. The Democrat made a number of stops this week including a Saturday appearance at Los Angeles Southwest College.

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King envisions learning environment that rewards all

Michelle King, the new superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest public school district, has a simple mission—she wants to provide a learning environment that enables all students to realize their dreams and goals.

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Waters proposes bill to end homelessness

Rep. Maxine Waters, (CA-43), last week introduced legislation that she said will end the crisis of homelessness in America.

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Out of the ordinary presidential politics

The results from the latest round of presidential primaries and caucuses demonstrated that 2016 is “not your father’s presidential election” and what is considered “traditional,” “conventional” or even “normal” is definitely not happening this year, says Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a professor of the Practice of Public Policy Communication at USC.

Summer gladness

Thousands of jobs available to youth

Finding a job for the summer is more than a way for young people to earn money to subsidize activities during that period between June and August when school is out and your time belongs to you.

African American loan fund available in Los Angeles

African-American businesses in existence for at least two years with one to 200 employees and up to $2 million in revenue who are seeking funding for working capital, debt refinancing, the purchase of owner-

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Supreme Court nomination up in air

Republicans vow to block Obama

The unexpected death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, has set Washington abuzz with talk of his replacement, and among the names that have been mentioned are California State Attorney General Kamala Harris, who currently is campaigning for the U.S. Senate Barbara Boxer currently occupies.

100 days of work

Councilman recounts achievements

It has been 100 days since Marqueece Harris-Dawson joined the Los Angeles City council to represent the 8th District, and on Saturday the community will have the opportunity to come out to Crenshaw High School from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to mark the occasion. The event will feature activist and journalist Dominique Diprima as a special guest as well as music, food and entertainment for the entire family.

Black Catholics talk incarceration

Urge leaders to spread the word

If the leadership of the nation’s 3 million Black Catholics had an opportunity to have an audience with Pope Francis during his six-day visit to America, which continues through Sunday, one of the key issues they would discuss is the mass incarceration of Blacks in America, explained Johnnie Dorsey.

Southwest College hosts start-up weekend

Open to tech, entrepreneurial communities

Prospective entrepreneurs and techies will join forces Sept. 25 to spend a weekend at Los Angeles Southwest College conceptualizing and developing a business as part of Startup Weekend.

Watts businesses today similar to those of 50 years ago

Local people serve the local community

By the time the Watts civil unrest took place in 1965, Chambers Shine Parlor and Repair had spent nearly a decade serving customers in the community near the intersection of Manchester Boulevard and Central Avenue.

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Teens wow with business ideas

Earn seed funding, trip to Silicon Valley

While many in South Los Angeles have spent the last few weeks worrying about the drama that has gripped the community with reports of murders, shootings and a gang vendetta, a group of 33 middle and high school young men have spent that same time and longer learning to think like a technology entrepreneur.

Summer jobs still available to youth

County, city hope to place 20,000

The city and county of Los Angeles expect to provide up to 20,000 jobs for low-income youth by summer’s end through its HIRE L.A.’s Youth program, which kicked off this month.

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First on the agenda for Harris-Dawson: Respecting constituent needs and wants

Talking face-to-face to almost 30,000 voters during the course of a winning political campaign gave newly-elected Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson a very clear picture of some of his constituents' key concerns.

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Hilton wins contested Carson election

More action needed to fill remaining vacant seat

Describing their actions as “political shenanigans,” Jim Dear, former long-time mayor of Carson, who on March 3 was elected city clerk, filed an exparte notice of intent to file a lawsuite earlier this week asking a judge to declare a special city council meeting held Friday, illegal.